A new study has found that flexible working is not just a millennial craze. UK workers of all ages have shown a demand for it, according to research by communications technology business TeleWare.
The survey of 2,300 UK employees reveals employees are actively turning down jobs that don’t offer flexible working. A quarter of all employees have turned down a job in the past for this reason. Whilst a further third (31%) would actively do so. Although the proportion of those that have done so is higher amongst millennials (40%), three in 10 (29%) employees over 45 would turn down a job if flexi-work options were not on offer.
Despite a legal right to request flexible working, coupled with widespread technology on hand to enable a more mobile workforce, less than three in 10 (29%) UK employees work for companies that operate flexible working schemes for all. One in five companies only allowing those of a certain level of seniority to work flexibly.
This short-sighted practice is handicapping employers search for the best talent. Flexible working is important to employees of all ages. Those in the 25–34 year-old bracket are the most enthusiastic with 93% saying it’s important for them to be able to choose both the hours they work and the place they work from. But the drop in importance expressed by those aged 55 years and older is small, with 82% still saying flexi-hours and ability to choose where they work is important to them.
Steve Haworth, CEO at TeleWare, comments: “Millennials often get labelled as the digital nomads, expecting work to fit around their lives. However, our research reveals that the appetite for flexible working and a ‘work from anywhere’ culture isn’t just confined to those under 35. Many businesses are falling at the first hurdle in attracting staff by not providing attractive, flexible working options. Losing valuable talent to businesses that embrace flexible working styles for all levels.
“The technology to address this is readily available, with many businesses already using it to not only boost productivity and profits, but also develop a happier, healthier and more loyal workforce. The expectations of employees will continue to increase; businesses therefore need to address the flexible working elephant in the room before it’s too late.”